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The Human History of Wakami Lake by Heather Conn

With photographs donated by Alton L. Morse


To Heather Conn's Website

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The text authored by Heather Conn and contained in this web page came from the MNR's archives and was made available by Michelle Roussy.
Index

Introduction

Sultan, Wakami's sawmill centre

How did the introduction of logging at Wakami Lake compare to other areas in northern Ontario?

Significant dates and events

Historical significance of Wakami area logging

Flavour by decade

The folks and their functions

Fire ranging

Acknowledgments

Heather Conn has included the following acknowledgment with the document:

The following people deserve thanks for assistance, encouragement and hard work in this project:

Sue Ledoux for her diligent map, photography and art work; Christina Tangie for her non-stop typing, editing and transcript preparation; Helen Ouelette for never-ending helpfulness; Cathy Nimmo for everything; all those at the Chapleau M.N.R. district office who provided guidance and information and everyone interviewed whose stories and kindness where inspirational.

Introduction

Nothing has transformed Wakami Lake more than logging and its cutting operations. Into an area of dense bush and isolated stands of white pine, it brought: industry and mechanization, log buildings and populated bush camps, flooded land from damming, a network of roads and trails, massive cutting and removal of timber and lumber company expansion. From its first year in 1928 under McNaught Lumber Company, full-scale logging at Wakami Lake grew to provide decades of profitable mill and lumber operations in nearby Sultan. Its control changed from Austin and Nicholson Lumber Company to the new ownership of Wakami Lumber Company in 1933. After J.J. McFadden Lumber Company took over operations in 1947, logging continued beyond Wakami Lake and is still going on by the Sultan road near the park.
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Before McNaught Lumber Company built logging camps at Wakami, it maintained temporary tent camps there run by small jobbers or log-cutting contractors. When company operations moved in, two log camps were built right on Wakami Lake, with others in the bush by surrounding lakes, close to cutting areas. At first, timber was cut close to the lake, then gradually operations spread outwards. In the early 1930s, wood was cut south of Wakami Lake and. Kebskwasheshi Lake, by Squaw Lake, south and north of Robinson Lake and up towards Memoir Lake. Cutting continued in these areas for the following 10 years. With J.J. McFadden Company's arrival, there were no more camps directly on Wakami Lake. Instead, as lakeside timber dwindled, cutting operations spread further out with all company camps on neighbouring lakes such as Peacock Lake. Wakami Lake was then used as the main waterway to transport logs brought from other lakes up to the Sultan sawmill.

White pine, noted for its large size and wide diameter was the first timber harvested at Wakami Lake. When it was depleted after roughly 10 years, jackpine was used. In later years, spruce was cut in Wakami township on the Little Wakami River.

Logging operations around Wakami Lake began in late October and continued until the end of March or early April. Road construction and cutting of trails started in late August. This involved a simple four-step process:

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  1. cutting and removal of timber
  2. skidding (hauling) of logs through the bush to skidways on main haul roads.
  3. hauling of logs from skidways to log dumps on lakes or rivers; there, logs remained until spring's ice break-up when they could be towed down the lake.
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The river drive:

Transportation of logs down Wakami Lake and River to the Sultan sawmill.

Once the river drive was completed, most Wakami loggers worked in the Sultan sawmill all summer until they could return to the bush again in the fall for cutting operations. (Meanwhile, logging horses were put to pasture in the summer on farms in southern Ontario). Loggers usually faced a repeated work cycle year after year. Says former Wakami logger Ted Tremblay:

"We'd go on the sleigh haul and when the sleigh haul was finished we used to wait for the river drive. After the river drive was finished, into the sawmill we'd go. It was -year-round the same thing. It was four different things that you did year after year after year - just like the four seasons."

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A Wakami logger's life was one of isolation, boarded (and sometimes bored) at remote bush camps, far removed from town society in Sultan and Chapleau.

Cut off from family and social gatherings, these men entertained themselves with games, cards, music and practical jokes. In the spring, some men visited Sultan on weekends after road access improved. Others turned to concealed liquor for comfort. Christmas and Easter were special occasions when loggers were able to reunite with their families. Only after the drive when they'd made their stake (received their wages) were they free to leave and wallow in the pleasures of Sultan and Chapleau town life. Says Tremblay:

"I used to come out at Christmas and blow half that stake. Then we'd go back in for the sleigh haul."

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Loggers at Wakami saw many changes in the methods and technology used throughout the years. Although local logging has usually been divided into the horse-drawn vs. mechanical era, these two power sources actually overlapped one another. (Note by the editor: Thanks to Joe Desbois' good memory, we know the names of the two horses you saw when you clicked this link. They were "Sultan" with the white face and "Star" on the right. On top of the load sits Con Maloney). The diesel powered Linn tractor was used at the same time as horses to haul sleigh loads of logs through the bush. It was quicker and more efficient than horses for this purpose; on its own carefully prepared ice road, it could work both night and day, hauling up to 15 loads of logs at once. Although it was in use at Wakami Lake in the late 1920s, fuel-powered equipment did not widely appear until the 1940s, when gas winches and the Mack truck were introduced.

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In the later years of Wakami's operations, log hauling by the lack re-located log drives. Logs were hauled and dumped directly into the Sultan mill pond rather than floated up the Wakami River.

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Until the Mack truck arrived at Wakami, horses were the mainstay of operations. Besides hauling logs, they powered the patent plow and ice tank, both essential equipment used to create and maintain haul roads. Horses also activated the jammer or loader, used in hauling logs onto sleighs. At this time, trees were cut with cross-cut saws, worked by two men's muscle power. In the late Forties, these saws were replaced by powered chainsaws.

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From the beginning of operations at Wakami Lake, an amphibious steam driven barge or "alligator" was used to tow log booms and a scow of supplies down the lake. it could tow up to 60,000 logs; on land, it crossed portages to other lakes with the help of its steam engine, steel cable and winch. Today, a lifesize prototype of an alligator is on display at the Historic Logging Museum in the park.

Sultan: Wakami's Sawmill Centre

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"The ravenous sawmills in this pine wilderness are not unlike the huge dragons that were used in popular legends to lay waste the country; and like the dragons, they die when their prey, the lordly pines, are all devoured." (from The North American Assault on the Canadian Forest, 1936)

Sawmill operations in Sultan wiped out flourishing white pine forests in surrounding areas. This small town 6.5 miles north-east of Wakami Lake was created by local lumbermen who sought large-scale removal of white pine timber. In the winter of 1927, McNaught Lumber Company moved its large mill from Devon to Sultan after its previous timber grounds were fully exhausted.

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As a result, a new mill town was born, producing white and some red pine lumber under Austin and Nicholson. Alton Morse, former McNaught Lumber Company managing director, remembers the glorious days of white pine production:

"In the early days, we were really getting some beautiful white Pine. These logs were not sawn mechanically, they were sawn with across-cut saw. Oh, it was beautiful. We would ship plank into Chicago, 16 feet long, 20 inches wide, two and three inches thick and there wouldn't be a blemish."



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In the spring of 1928, the company built an office, school, store and about 12 houses for loggers and their families, with another dozen log cabins. A.J. Grout recalls:

"It was a company town. The lumber company was almost sole employer and they had their own store to look after the trade."

Operations were suspended from 1931 to 1933, when depressed markets and economy prevented any hint of profits. But the company presence was still appreciated when Morse took over the store and provided locals with necessary supplies.

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In the following decade, the town prospered under Wakami Lumber Company. Once lumbered, the company's vast forests of white pine were able to provide ample financing during the difficult Depression years. Unlike at the turn of the century, Sultan was no longer a backwoods railroad stopover frequented by trappers, prospectors or canoeists. By the late 1930s, it boasted close to 200 people with a school, church, pool room and nearly 30 homes.

The lumber company's influence as provider and benefactor created a close-knit sense of community. An active social life evolved around regular Saturday evening dances, late-night poker games and bootleggers' establishments. Loggers visiting on weekends could find relief and entertainment after the isolation of bush camps. Germans from local prisoner-of-war camps were popular additions to the town's male population. Recalls Alton Morse:

"They were a fine class of people, we thought. The girls were crazy about them and they had a pretty good time. As far as wanting to escape, you couldn't have driven them away." Here are some photos of POWs at Sheahan, a little town east of Sultan along the CPR track.

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Morse kept the company office open after hours to maintain direct communication with loggers and their families. During the day, the office was a gathering spot for friends and visitors. Company management held special luncheons in the Sultan cookery occasionally for out-of-town guests. Even a visiting doctor made weekly social calls. The drop-in town doctor at the time, George (Ted) Young, recalls:

"Other communities were dead compared to what Sultan was at that time. Sultan was much more active than (milltown) Dalton. They got the right combination of administrative and other types of Personnel to make a small community viable and vibrant."

This established lively community grew in less than 10 years. Before the town existed, just contractor, Dan Eaton, hired by Austin and Nicholson, lived at Sultan with his two sons as clerk and sawyer. There, he ran a portable sawmill on the north side of the railway tracks, cutting timber for several seasons in the early 1920s. Before that, only local people had entered Sultan's bush area to hand-hew railway ties with small axes.

Thus, before lumbering began at Sultan, it remained isolated and undeveloped. After the railway came through in 1885, trains remained the main means of access to Sultan for more than 50 years. It was not until 1950, when J.J. McFadden Lumber Company arrived, that Sultan's geographical isolation was broken. During a railway strike, the company connected one of its logging roads to Kormak road, providing access for supplies from Chapleau. This was the first-ever highway access created from Sultan to Chapleau. (The McFadden company was later purchased by the Dominion Tar and Chemical Company which became Domtar Newsprint Ltd.)

As a town, Sultan's bustling atmosphere and mere existence depended on the success of its sawmill and lumber operations. When the sawmill burned in 1956, it was left idle, no longer able to consume the forests around it. Today, without any logging or mill activities, Sultan holds no hint of the busy flavour it once enjoyed. Its days as a booming, one-company town are gone.

Historical Significance of Wakami Area Logging

Locally
  1. Wakami Lake's white pine forests were what drew lumbermen to the region. These same trees provided vital income for Wakami Lumber Company and kept it afloat during the difficult Depression years. White pine, spruce and jackpine forests supplied timber to the Sultan sawmill. (Vast areas of Wakami's white pine were depleted before other timber was harvested).
  2. Wakami's lumber companies created and developed Sultan as a milltown and administrative, social centre.
  3. Company bush camps and sawmill operations provided employment for local residents.
  4. Logging dramatically altered the ecology of the Wakami Lake area - Wakami River was dammed and flooded, heavy machinery was hauled in and bush roads were built. Later, these tote roads from Sultan to various logging camps around Wakami provided access for recreationists. As a result, a public use area started and eventually became a provincial park.
  5. Jackpine in the Wakami area and westward was unique in the region for its youth and beauty, according to an aerial observer who viewed these forests in the mid-1920s.

Regionally/Provincially

Wakami Lake was a regional representative of northeastern Ontario logging. It evolved from horse-drawn to mechanized operations with isolated bush camp life (i. e. a case study of an era). It was part of the region's northern expansion with lumber towns and sawmills growing from Nicholson, Dalton and Devon to Sultan. High-paced lumber production resulted to meet the increasing demand for railway ties and sawn lumber products. As markets changed, the local empire builder Austin & Nicholson Lumber Company moved from railway tie production to sawn lumber.

Wakami's founding lumber company was a subsidiary of Austin and Nicholson, who first introduced mechanical logging to north-eastern Ontario with the Linn tractor. This machine was used at Wakami following its first regional appearance at Devon logging operations in 1917.

Cutting operations brought French-speaking loggers from the Ottawa Valley and Gaspe peninsula, creating a mix of cultures, religion and language.

Nationally

Wakami's McNaught Lumber Company was part of Austin and Nicholson's influential logging empire. By 1916, the latter company was the top producer of railway ties in the British Commonwealth.

Wakami Lake's forests supplied markets for sawn lumber all across North America.

Its bush camps brought loggers from other countries into the area, primarily Poles and Finns. (Some of these were displaced by the Second World War and eventually settled locally).

Wakami Lumber Company employees built a German prisoner-of-war camp north of Sultan which kept Germans cutting timber in the bush. After the war, many did not want to leave the area and some returned in subsequent years. One former German P.O.W. ended up working for the local Department of Lands and Forests and became a provincial auditor.

How did the introduction of logging at Wakami Lake compare to the other areas in Northern Ontario?

Birth of the railway in northern Ontario spawned a vital economic scramble for local mill workers and loggers to produce railway ties by the thousands. At the turn of the century, settlement and industry were booming in the towns of Biscotasing and Chapleau. Lumber companies were prospering with sawmill and cutting operations in Nicholson, then Devon and Dalton. But in the meantime, Sultan and Wakami Lake were still isolated and undeveloped, their forest tracts untouched. Why was this portion of north-eastern Ontario ignored?

Well, unlike Windermere Lake at Nicholson, Wakami Lake was far removed from railway operations. No ready access existed to its forests and it had no permanent inhabitants. By contrast, Nicholson was an ideal setting for lumber operations: a large peninsula jutted out into Windermere Lake and allowed easy access to its timber-laden shores. Rivers and streams could carry logs to the mill and a newly constructed spur line enabled shipment of final products to the marketplace. Thus, Austin and Nicholson started their first mill operation there in 1903 .

Two years earlier, Austin and Nicholson was founded in Chapleau, specifically to supply ties to the railway. Chapleau too was already a bustling railway town with a growing economy. Only a decade before, jobbers (logging contractors) were cutting local timber and received supplies and support from town merchants. With the First World War, Austin and Nicholson faced a growing demand for ties and sawn lumber products and gained new mill sites in Devon and Dalton, then Sultan.

It was not till this point, when local forests were becoming depleted and the demand for timber had accelerated, that Austin and Nicholson looked beyond for new cutting grounds. Only then did Wakami Lake enter the realm of this logging empire, chosen for its white pine.

Flavour by Decade

1920s

Railway ties are hand-hewed in the bush at Sultan contractor runs portable sawmill for several seasons at Sultan. Logging operations begin at Wakami Lake under McNaught Lumber with sawmill in Sultan.

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1930s

Depression - logging stops at Wakami for two seasons due to lack of markets, poor economy. It recommences in 1933 under Wakami Lumber Company.

1940s

War Years - cutting operations continue at Wakami Lake and in 1947 McFadden Lumber takes over logging there German P.O.W.s log in bush camps around Sultan Union and strike action hits northern Ontario but organizers find no success at Wakami Lake bush camps.

1950s

Sultan's isolation ends with new road connected to Highway 129. Huron Forest Products logs west of current Wakami parkland.

1960s

Dominion Tar and Chemical Company (later Domtar) cuts timber left by McFadden Lumber Company.

Significant Dates and Events

1885

Canadian Pacific Railway comes through Sultan and other parts of northern Ontario, creating demand for railway ties.

1901

Austin and Nicholson Lumber Company is founded in Chapleau to supply ties to the railway

1903

Austin and Nicholson start their first mill operation at Nicholson siding on Windermere Lake, (29 km. west of Chapleau along the CPR). Subsequently, they build mills in Dalton, Bertrand's Siding west of White River and Sultan.

1914

Workmen's Compensation Board is established in Ontario.

1916

Austin and Nicholson becomes the largest mill supplier of railway ties in the British Commonwealth; the company contracts to provide CPR with 200,000 ties per year for three years.

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1917

Austin and Nicholson employee Alton Morse brings the Linn tractor to Devon. This hauling tractor revolutionizes northern Ontario logging operations and is the first of its kind to be used in Eastern Canadian logging.

1920

Austin and Nicholson receive a contract to supply timber for the CPR near Sultan. Men such as locomotive engineer Hill Gagnon are the first in the area to hand-hew ties with a broad axe; they square off timber on four sides, leaving waste scraps in the bush by Sultan

1921

In January, McNaught Lumber Company is formed as a subsidiary of Austin and Nicholson. It holds timber licences for townships of McNaught and Gallagher near Devon, 10 miles east of Chapleau. The three principals of the new company are James McNiece Austin, George B. Nicholson and Alton Morse.

1921

Public Health Act is passed whereby each logger in a bush camp is to be issued clean blankets and a mattress; building regulations in bush camps regarding ventilation and height of walls are to be followed (this was rarely enforced).

1923

Surveyor J.W. Fitzgerald took detailed notes of Wakami Lake and the surrounding area for the Department of Lands, Forests and Mines. He remarked that the "rolling brute country" was "heavily lumbered" with white pine up to 30 inches wide. Other noted tree species were: poplar, white and yellow birch, willow, spruce, balsam, cedar, tamarack and alder. There is no mention made of maple trees around Wakami at that time. (Earlier, the north-west end of Wakami Lake was surveyed by John McAree of the Ontario Land Survey in 1892)

1924 to 26 - 27

Austin and Nicholson hire contractor Dan Eaton from southern, Ontario to set up a small circular sawmill at Sultan; he operates the portable sawmill on the north side of the railway tracks with his two sons as clerk and sawyer. The operation is able to produce 1,000 railway ties per day. at this time, hand-hewn ties are converted to mill-made ones.

1927

In March, Alton Morse spends three weeks crossing Wakami Lake's terrain by dog sled and snowshoe to see if logging is viable in the area. He concludes: "The timber was there, it was available and it was a commercial proposition."

The McNaught Lumber Company is incorporated with George Nicholson as president, Alan McNiece Austin as vice-president and Alton Morse as managing director. Nicholson and Austin each receive 7/15 of all company profits with 1/15 of profits to Morse (in addition to his managerial salary)

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McNaught Lumber Company moves into Sultan and Wakami Lake, bringing its sawmill from Devon to Sultan; the company builds an access road, logging camps and two wooden dams: one 225 ft. long with two gates to form the Sultan mill pond for log storage and one on the Wakami River at the outlet of Wakami Lake; the latter was about 35 ft. at the base, about seven ft. high with one sluice way 12 feet long.

The company had a double work shift that winter, removing the following timber:

1927-28 to 1930-31

Roughly 4.5 million board ft. of jackpine, 7.5 million board feet of white and red pine and 2.5 million board ft. of spruce

1928

In February, Austin and Nicholson employee Joe Lepine arrives at the north end of Wakami Lake with helper Ernie Collins to reconstruct the torn up bottom of the Devon alligator barge.

"They took it off at Sultan and they hauled it in with horses," says Collins. "We put the bottom up on logs, leveled it off and then went to work on it." The newly built alligator then services Wakami Lake for close to 20 years in the spring, McNaught Lumber Company builds an office, school, store and houses in Sultan for loggers and their families.

1930

Austin and Nicholson face economic ruin due to a severe lack of markets for sawn lumber and a shrinking demand for railway ties. As a result, the company is borrowing heavily. McNaught Lumber Company takes out enough timber for a double mill shift in Sultan but there is no market for it. "You couldn't even give away a stick of lumber," says Alton Morse.

1930-33

Depression Years: Austin and Nicholson suspend operations due to economic depression. All employees are laid off except for jack-of-all trades Joe Lepine who runs errands. Morse operates the company store in Sultan and his wife Elizabeth keeps the books.

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1933

(Note by the editor: Joe Desbois recalled in January 2000 that the Ford snowmobile was a converted 1928 Ford passenger car. The man on the right in this photo is Alton Morse.)

Entrepreneur Leigh Sheppard, who has inherited money from his father's Georgian Bay Lumber Company, offers to buy the Sultan sawmill and timber rights from the McNaught Lumber Company. He agrees to pay the company's debt of $56,700, to equip the mill at Sultan and to buy timber rights on two parcels of land. These rights cover timber in a total area of about 800 kilometres, including the Wakami Lake region; they cost $14,000. The estimated price of timber is $261,000. "Sheppard came along with a handful of money and he started things rolling there," says former scaler Lawrence Mantle.

In September, the new Wakami Lumber Company is incorporated with L.B. Sheppard as president, Alton Morse as vice-president and John T. Dunn as secretary-treasurer. This ends Austin and Nicholson's control over Sultan mill operations. Wakami Lumber Company operations continue for 13 years, ending in 1945-46.

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1934

McNaught Lumber Company's assets and liabilities are transferred to Wakami Lumber and in return George Nicholson receives 468 fully paid shares in the new company. He agrees to subscribe for a further 725 shares in return for $25,000 cash.

1940s

War Years: A serious manpower shortage is reported in most mills and bush camps due to the war.

1943

War Years: A federal order-in-council (PC2326) authorizes the federal Ministry of Labour to use prisoners of war across the country as workers in logging bush camps. In the early 1940s, Wakami Lumber Company employees build a large logging camp in dense bush north of Sultan for about 150 German P.O.W.s. Another camp is built just outside Sultan. Prisoners in this area wore a red circle on their jackets as a distinguishing mark; none of them worked at Wakami Lake or anywhere south of the CPR tracks, although they socialized frequently in Sultan. In 1946, the P.O.W.s were sent home. (Note by the editor: Joe Desbois recalled in January 2000, that when he came home in July 1946 from serving in Europe and got off the train in Sultan, the POWs where getting into the same train to leave.)

The Kalamazoo Vegetable and Parchment Company from Espanola begins operations north of the CPR tracks near Sultan and Ramsey, using the former German prisoner of war camp for loggers' bush accommodations. K.V.P. later became Brown Forest Products which was then bought out by Eddy Forest Products in 1969. Wakami loggers refer to the company as "K.V.P.".

1946

Lumber and Sawmill Workers Union hits northern Ontario with a strike. Attempts to organize workers in Wakami Lumber Company fail and union officials who visit company camps faced threats, rebuffs and apathy.

"A union organizer would stay overnight and the next morning he was gone," remembers former Wakami logger Ted Tremblay. "He didn't even have time to say 'union'. Everybody took this 'I don't give a damn' attitude."

The final year of Wakami Lumber Company operations. Over a 13-year period, the company removed 17.3 million board feet of jackpine logs, 27 million feet of white and red pine logs, 5 million board feet and 7,500 cords of jackpine and 3,500 cords of spruce pulp wood from around the Wakami Lake area.

1947

Wakami Lumber Company sells its assets to J.J. McFadden Company of Blind River on April 26 and then changes its name to Sheppard and Morse. Under this new name, it moves to Pineal Lake in 1948 to cut white pine. Meanwhile, McFadden logs for jackpine and spruce in townships 11B, 11C, Strom and Lynch until 1956 when the Sultan sawmill burns. The mill is then left idle. The poet John Ceredigion Jones dies in Sultan in 1947 (note by editor).

1950

McFadden Lumber Company at Sultan gets a government subsidy and connects a road to the Kormak road, offering access and a direct link to Highway 129. (This was done during a railway strike when road access was limited).

1956

McFadden Lumber Company mill is destroyed by fire.

1956-57

McFadden Lumber Company is bought out by Huron Forest Products Company.

1958-59

Huron Forest Products takes over timber limits encompassing what is now Wakami parkland.

1960s

Huron Forest Products and Dominion Tar and Chemical Company (Domtar) cut mostly pulp wood and spruce swamp left by McFadden Lumber Company. This occurs around Peacock Lake north-east of Wenebegon Lake with cutting in townships 10B, 10C, 11B and Strom. Domtar has a small contractor with a sawmill in Sultan cutting saw logs under a second party agreement.

The Folks and their Functions

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Management

President: He provided the initial capital to begin operations. He only visited logging camps occasionally, spent most of his time in Toronto. Company's main decision-maker.

Person: Leigh Sheppard White pine was his great love; he'd sit at the Sultan sawmill for hours watching the white pine being sawed into board lumber. Very terse and business-like in his dealings with people. Strong-willed and determined to get his own way.

"When he spoke, most of them jumped," remembers one former company worker.

"There was no beatin' around the bush with him at all. It was either right or wrong and that was it."

Fire Ranging

1929

While searching for good lookout tower locations, R.K. Wilson sends Sudbury's district forester a rough sketch of visibility from a hill on the north-east Woman River. He writes: "This hill has much to recommend it as it covers Wakami and Wenebegon and also 35 miles of right of way." (This later became the site of a lookout tower).

1930

Depression

Construction of a summer fire base in Sultan begins shortly after May 16 with $262.90 spent in building materials. (Sultan was chosen because local mining, logging and saw-mill operations were growing quickly and created greater fire hazards). By July, a 24'x26' four-room cabin is completed. it opens under a senior ranger but this position soon changes to deputy ranger. The following Sultan deputies were in charge of Wakami Lake's fire control over the years:

Edward Meeking or Meekins 1930 - 38

W.P. O'Donnell 1939 - 45

Elgin Collard Aug. 1945 - 50

Keith Cameron 1952 - 54

Fred Musclow 1955 - 56

George Dingee April 1957 - 68

(On Aug. 1, 1968, the Sultan deputy base became a chief ranger base with George Dingee in charge of the Sultan and Biscotasing area).

Biscotasing headquarters still controlled the Sultan base and was final authority for fires at Wakami Lake. Its chiefs were:

Russ K. Wilson (fire inspector) 1925 - 35

Jack Dillon (chief ranger) 1936 - 42

Bill Stinson (chief ranger) 1943 - 45

Bill O'Donnell (chief ranger) 1945 - 67

(Until 1936, the Bisco chief ranger also acted as fire inspector. See "Folks and their Functions" section for more information on both jobs).

1931

Depression

On June 15, R.K. Wilson outlines data on a newly constructed Sultan deputy headquarters. Two fire ranger's cabins were built:

One log cabin 16' x l8' made of peeled spruce with a peaked roof, 6 ft. front verandah and 8 ft. walls.

One frame clapboard cabin 16'x l6' with a 6 ft. front, screened-in verandah as living quarters for three rangers. The building was painted red and white.













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